Saturday, December 5, 2009

DC Comics Classics Library : Flash of Two Worlds

I bought DC Comics Classics Library : Flash of Two Worlds as something of an experiment. The results were mixed.

I didn't really need this book, nor did I especially want it. It is a collection of the Silver Age team-ups of the Flashes of Earth-One and Earth-Two, which is ordinarily exactly the sort of thing that I am all aboard for. The one hitch is that all these stories had previously been reprinted in two softcover volumes of Crisis on Multiple Earths : The Team-Ups. Both of those books are relatively recent and still in print. They also offer additional team-ups stories besides the Flash tales, for a combined price that is LESS than this book.

There's also the matter of the solicitation copy. You can see it on DC's page for this title. Unless you are really into this sort of thing (like me!), you probably won't notice the problem. One of the team-up stories of the two Flashes is not included in the list of issues reprinted. It is a sort of borderline story, but I just couldn't believe it when I saw its omission. It is bad enough to publish a book that is both redundant and a bad deal, but compound that with making it incomplete, and I was flabbergasted.

Well, despite my reservations about this collection, I elected to purchase it. I like these stories, and I am eager to see DC put out more collections of these sort of comics. I chose to "take one for the team", and figured I could see what all the fuss is about regarding the DCCL books in the bargain. This was, I should hasten to add, prior to the Perez JLA book discussed on this very blog not long ago.

I turned out to be pleasantly surprised when I tore off the shrinkwrap. The solicitation was wrong. This is turning out to be rather common with DC's solicitations lately. The book is actually 160 pages, not 144. The story from #170 (the missing issue in question) was included after all. That means that the book includes all six Infantino-drawn Flash/Flash stories of the Silver Age. Nice save, DC.

UNFORTUNATELY, DC still made a goof with this book that I didn't notice until I sat down to read it closely. Several pages from The Flash #129's story have suffered art loss on the left margins. Some are just barely noticeable, while others lop off portions of the word balloons. This story is reproduced without this defect in the earlier Crisis book, so I am at a loss as to what happened here. It's not like this book is so thick that the art needed to be shifted to accommodate the spine.

Anyway, there is a one page introduction by Geoff Johns, and two pages of creator bios. All covers are included. The splash page for The Flash #137 has the original captions, rather than the altered ones that ran in the Crisis book. The reproduction looks fine as near as I can tell (other than the glaring error mentioned one paragraph ago), and I assume the paper stock is the same that they've been using in other Classics.

I think it was too soon to be publishing this book, with both Crisis books still in print. However, DC fixed the problems that I had with it from its original solicitation, and except for the art loss on one story, I think it's a well-packaged collection. If you don't already own these stories, or would simply like to upgrade them to a hardcover, I can mildly recommend this book. Just be aware of what you are getting into, and the fact that it's forty dollars for less than 200 pages.

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